IDEAL COORG MONSOON DISHES
The Coorg month of Kakkada starts from mid-July. It is the time when the monsoon is at its peak in Kodagu district (Coorg) in Karnataka. To fortify themselves from the harsh monsoon, certain foods are preferred. They include, mudre kanni (horse gram gravy), kembu kari, a curry made from colocasia leaf, and baimbale (bamboo shoot) curry.
Among all the dishes, partaking of Kakkada Koli or chicken tops the menu. The chicken should be the home-grown naati variety which tastes the best in this season.
When it comes to keeping the body warm, there is nothing to beat mudre kanni, a dish from a bygone era when horse-gram was boiled in large quantities for bullocks and the water in which it was boiled was made into horse gram sauce.
If you ask me what my favourite monsoon dish is, then it is bamboo shoot curry, eaten with akki ottis (rice chapathi), with a touch of ghee. Ideal for both breakfast and dinner.
Another popular dish is wild mushroom (kumm) curry made out of several varieties of wild mushrooms which spring up on the ground during monsoon.
Even international cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey has shared the recipe of wild Kodava mushroom curry with coconut in her book North By Northwest.
She says the recipe comes from the Kodava people of Kodagu in Karnataka, a region in south-western India that has tropical forests, and grows coffee beans, cardamom and black pepper.
During the peak of the monsoon, in most of the Kodava homes, curry is prepared from freshly caught crabs from paddy fields.